Launch of Beyond The Label Collective to see better support for persons with mental health conditions
The BTL Collective consists of 26 partners from the public, private and people sectors.
A new collective to drive greater inclusivity and action in Singapore has been launched on Friday (Oct 7).
Called the Beyond the Label (BTL) Collective, it is led by the National Council of Social Services (NCSS) and TOUCH Community Services.
The collective consists of 26 organisations across the public, private and people sectors and will focus on four key areas of work.
These are: Raise awareness of stigma and advocate for greater support for persons with mental health conditions; Educate and equip the public with peer support skills that help them interact and support persons with mental health conditions; Implement workplace adjustments to support persons with mental health conditions better; and Encourage those who need help to seek help early.
The organisations include Nanyang Technological University, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Facebook Singapore. Their relevant expertise and experience in addressing stigma, promoting help-seeking behaviours and inclusive hiring practices will be tapped on.
The collective was launched by President Halimah Yacob at the launch of this year’s BTL Fest, an annual flagship event by the BTL Movement, held at Gardens by the Bay.
Beyond raising awareness, the BTL Collective will educate and equip the public with peer support skills that help them interact and support those with mental health conditions, implement workplace adjustments to support them better, and encourage those who need help to seek help early.
President Halimah Yacob shared in her welcome address that in the latest study conducted by NCSS in 2021 on public attitudes towards persons with mental health conditions, findings showed that six in 10 respondents were willing to work with a person with a mental health condition. This improved from about five in 10 respondents in the 2017 survey.
However, about one in four agreed that it was stressful to be co-workers with persons with mental health conditions. Additionally, only two in five working respondents agreed their organisation provided adequate support for their mental well-being.
“Much more needs to be done to encourage inclusive workplaces,” the President said.
She also announced that four social service agencies – Club HEAL, Singapore Association for Mental Health, Singapore Children’s Society and TOUCH Community Services – are currently undergoing training by IMH and will be equipped with the necessary expertise to provide timely interventions and support to the youths from 2023.
This is as part of the President’s Challenge launched a partnership with IMH to enhance the capabilities of social service agencies in providing mental health support for youth through a stepped care model.
“This allows mental health care to be right-sited within the community, facilitating open conversations about mental health, while holistically addressing the social issues faced by youths and their families.”
Co-chair of the BTL Collective and CEO of TOUCH Community Services, Mr James Tan urged Singaporeans to go beyond just supporting persons with mental health conditions and instead help them to be heard, valued and empowered.
“Proactive community support is important to overcome challenges that may prevent persons with mental health conditions from seeking and receiving the support that they need,” he said.
Founded in 2018, BTL is a movement by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and TOUCH Community Services (TOUCH) that aims to raise awareness and acceptance of those with mental health conditions as well as to promote greater help-seeking behaviour.